If you're a breastfeeding mother, new or experienced, you understand the stress that comes along feeding another tiny human. As mothers we are constantly worrying about the well being of our babies, and knowing that they are relying on you to provide their food and nutrition can sometimes feel overwhelming. Breastfeeding in general is a commitment and if you're also pumping for your baby, that can be a full time job in itself. Babies grow quickly, their eating habits increase, and there are only so many hours in the day. Moms may have a hard time keeping up their milk supply in order to keep up with the demands of their baby. Read this article to learn more about your how your body provides for your baby and which beers can help increase your milk supply.
How Does Your Body Produce Milk?
Before your baby is born, your body is already preparing itself to feed your baby. By the time your in your second trimester your duct system is fully developed and you're ready to produce milk for your baby (even if he comes early). It generally takes a day or two for a woman to produce their "first milk". As your baby nurses, your brain is producing oxytocin, which is signaling your body to produce more prolactin. This will ensure that your breasts make enough milk for your baby's next feeding. The more prolactin that's in your bloodstream the more milk your body will produce. A mother can look at a photo of her baby, as well as hear his cries and produce this hormone (which is why you leak a little milk at the sound of your baby crying).
Why Your Milk Supply Is Low
Breastfeeding although it's natural, doesn't always mean it's easy. Mother's who exclusively breastfeed their babies may have a fear that they're not producing enough milk. However, there are many ways you can tell that your body is producing enough for your baby. Moms who breastfeed and pump or exclusively pump their baby, may feel as though they have a hard time with their milk production. It's normal to have a variation of output milk production if you're a pumping mom. Don't forget that a nursing baby will be much more efficient at extracting milk then a pump. If you feel as though you're having a hard time producing enough milk to feed your baby, it's always a good idea to contact a lactation consultant. However, there are a few reasons as to why your milk production may be low:
- Supplementing with formula
- Bottles require a different motion and can cause baby to then have trouble suckling correctly while trying to nurse
- Going long periods of time without emptying your breast
- Stress – mom's health is important ladies!
How To Increase Your Milk Supply
Although there are many ways to help increase your milk, did you ever consider kicking back and relaxing with a beer to help increase your milk? That's right, beer for moms! You can "have your beer, and drink it too". It has been argued that dark hoppy beers are actually ok to have while breastfeeding, and can help increase your milk supply. The beer is said to increase the hormone that stimulates milk supply. However, it's not the alcohol in the beer that helps produce the milk. Since beer is made from barely and hops, two known galactagogues, this is what stimulates the hormone prolactin. An added bonus is that small alcohol consumption will help moms relax so they can produce more milk!
Beers For Breastfeeding Moms
You may be wondering what exactly is a Milk Stout? A stout is a dark and hoppy beer that is usually made from roasting malts and barely. A Milk Stout is a stout that contains lactose, a sugar from milk. This adds body, flavor, and density to the beer. Milk Stouts usually contain flavors like chocolate and coffee, which make them a great dessert beer. If you're looking to increase your milk supply while taking some "mommy time", you may want to try some of these suggestions.
Many of these beers have rich flavors that can be complemented with an after dinner dessert. If you're not regularly a beer drinker, you may want to give these Milk Stouts a try. They have less carbonation than a regular brew, with creamy finishes. This kind of richness can be similar to enjoying a chocolate milkshake!
Drinking Beer While Breastfeeding: What You Need To Know
Having an occasional beer is a fun and relaxing way to help increase your milk supply, but there are some limitations and important factors nursing moms should take into consideration. Drinking too much alcohol can have a negative affect on your milk supply. Alcohol is thought of as a depressant and can actually decrease your milk production if you're not taking the proper measures. Alcohol can also change the taste and smell of your breast milk. If you're nursing your baby while your breast milk still contains alcohol, then the change in your milk may aggravate baby and possibly make breastfeeding more difficult. If you're going to try these beers for breastfeeding moms, consider the following safety tips.
How Old Is Baby
Before consuming any alcohol consider your baby's age. Doctors recommend that a breastfeeding mom wait until their child is 3 months old. A newborn's liver is still under developed. If any alcohol is passed to your baby a newborn won't metabolize alcohol like an older infant.
Does Alcohol Affect My Breast Milk?
The same amount of alcohol that get's into your blood stream will make it's way into your milk. The level of alcohol is said to peak around 30-60 minutes after consumption. It's best to consider when your baby is due to eat and plan accordingly. Every woman will eliminate alcohol at different times based on her size and weight, but it's recommended to wait 2-3 hours before nursing your baby after consuming any alcohol.
How Can I Safely Enjoy A Beer While Breastfeeding?
A mother who is breastfeeding can safely enjoy an alcoholic beverage. In fact, reasonable and responsible alcohol intake isn't discouraged. Enjoying a drink at a special social event, date night with your hubby, or simply sipping peacefully on the couch is ok (after all moms, we need something for ourselves)! If you plan on trying a milk stout beer to help increase your milk production, consider when your baby is supposed to eat. Don't have any alcohol right before you nurse your baby. The amount of alcohol your baby will receive is much less if you have your drink right after nursing or pumping. If you think you're going to be having more than one drink, you may want to consider pumping and giving your baby a bottle with expressed milk. This will ensure you give your body enough time for the alcohol to leave your bloodstream.
As a nursing mother, it's hard not to worry about your milk production especially if you feel like your supply is low. Breast feeding and/or pumping for your baby is hard work and at times can be very stressful. However, it's best for moms to relax and not stress (easier said than done ladies!) about it. Along with indulging in some tasty beers, moms can also increase their milk supply by adding more milk producing foods to their diet. Some moms see a big difference in their milk after eating lactation cookies, which is another guilt free treat and a great addition to your beer of choice (any excuse to eat cookies, and for a good cause).
If you're a mom that's having a tough time keeping up with your baby's demands, don't give up. There are plenty of natural ways to help increase your milk production. Moms also need to feel supported! Beers are fun, but pros and peers can really make a difference. You can find a great supportive community all free on latchME Keep in mind that mom's health is important. Although it's near impossible not to worry about your child, remember that a happy mommy means a happy baby. Try taking some mommy time and having one of our suggested beers for breastfeeding moms to help increase your milk supply.